Posts Tagged ‘social marketing’

Last week I was asked to talk with BBC World News Anchor, Adnan Nawaz, to talk about the controversy around Big Papi, David Ortiz, taking a selfie with President Obama during the teams trip to the White House. In my opinion there really wasn’t much of a controversy, as you will see from the interview below. What do you think? Was Big Papi right or wrong for taking his pic with the President?

Spring is in the air and that means MLB Opening Day is right around the corner! In honor of the big day (which will feature my Boston Red Sox receiving their 2013 World Series Championship Rings – just sayin’), the team at Facebook has put together a map that highlights team allegiances – measured in terms of likes – across the United States.

You will immediately notice that the Yankees, Brave and Rangers (which is a bit of a surprise) take up a majority or the map. Red Sox Nation is also up there as well! However, Facebook notes that there is not a single county in the US that aligns with the A’s, Mets or Blue Jays (sorry to all my friends up in Toronto).

It’s an interesting breakdown. Click on the map to get the larger view. (Courtesy of the team at Inside Facebook)

Facebook-MLB-Fandom-Map

State of Social Media Marketing 2012We are excited to share our annual report on the State of Social Media Marketing – Top Areas For Social Marketing Investment and Biggest Social Marketing Challenges in 2012. The team at Awareness connected with 320 marketers from a cross-section of industries, company sizes and levels of social marketing experience.  Our annual State of Social Media Marketing report comes with insights from those leading the efforts at the C-level and those who manage the social marketing function within their organizations, as well as a number of business leaders who are helping to bridge the social gap within their enterprises.

Here are some interesting findings and insights that are contained in this report from our CEO, Brian Zanghi.

2012: The Year of Growing Social Marketing Maturity

Social marketing is entering a stage of maturity and with it, savvy, socially-oriented businesses are starting to embrace social as part of their companies’ DNA.  This transition comes with an understanding that siloed approaches to social marketing are not effective, and a realization that scale with social marketing comes with the adoption of new organizational structures, processes and technology infrastructure that can help the enterprise scale and optimize in a continuous fashion. Expect that in 2012 focus will shift to active social media management for increased lead generation and sales.

C-level Involvement with Social Marketing

We were excited with the response levels from C-level executives (39% of respondents) and the information they shared.  Top-of-mind for executives and senior managers is ROI, integration of social with lead generation and sales, and expansion of social presence and reach. It is clear that the C-level wants more proof before they allocate additional organizational resources to social marketing.  This is why only 8% of our respondents reported 2011 budgets of over $50,000 per year, with 12% of the organizations reporting teams of 5+ social marketers.  At the same time, executives need to realize that to give their social marketing initiatives a chance, they need to invest accordingly in the effort.  Our prediction is that to resolve the cost-benefit conundrum in 2012, executives will start to adopt new processes and technologies that will not only help them scale the effort, but get the data that clearly links to ROI.

The Right Social Marketing Infrastructure

Social marketing maturity will increasingly be defined next year as the practice of adopting new processes and technologies that will help the enterprise scale their initiatives.  2012 will see savvy social businesses moving beyond the “let’s allocate a few people resources to social” mentality to incorporating robust social media management platforms. These platform will provide the ability to monitor and analyze social conversations, while creating effective response and content mechanisms to increase customer engagement and ultimately sales. Our industry is reaching this maturity tipping point – 78% of marketers reported monitoring social media channels for mentions of their brand at least a few times a week, while 62% reported monitoring industry conversations with the same frequency. Although 19% of surveyed marketers reported using a social media management platform, these are the leaders who will be reaping the most benefit from their efforts.

Expanded Use of New Social Marketing Platforms

Experienced social marketers report that they plan increased usage of social marketing platforms beyond the Big Three (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) to include: Blogs (91%) YouTube (86%), foursquare (59%), SlideShare (43%), Flickr (50%), and Tumblr (30%). Driven by increasingly fragmented user consumption habits, companies clearly see the need to expanded social presence that will allow them to follow and engage their prospects and customers on multiple channels and networks.  This proliferation of channels and the corresponding need to successfully engage in all of them will make the job of social marketers increasingly more complex. This, in turn, will necessitate the adoption of robust tools to manage presence, monitor and report on activity, and tie efforts to the organizational bottom line.

The State of Social Media Marketing report contains additional insights on top social marketing investment areas, top challenges for 2012, top social media platforms used today, the role of LinkedIn in reaching the C-suite, along with a fun section on the top news and analysis resources marketers use to stay on top of the latest and greatest in our industry. For full, free access to the State of Social Media Marketing report, click here. If you would like to be included in the survey for next year’s report, click here. You can also access the 2012 Social Marketing and New Media Predictions, to hear from marketing strategists David Meerman Scott, Brian Solis, Erik Qualman, Paul Gillin, CC Chapman, and Steve Rubel what 2012 has in store for us.

We welcome your thoughts, reactions and feedback.  Let us know how the insights and findings presented in the State of Social Media Marketing report will help shape your thinking in 2012.  Don’t hesitate to ask us the tough questions – as we embark on 2012, we promise to continue to provide deeper dives into best practices, successes, and notable trends to help you, social marketers, do more and do better.

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Social Media MarketingAs we embark on 2012, the team at Awareness, Inc. consulted with the best and the brightest in marketing, strategy, technology, business and social media marketing to help us identify the top news, analysis and trends resources for social marketing and social technology.  Our industry is among the most dynamic, with many voices reporting, analyzing and advising on social technology, social media developments, successes, and best practices. To help you navigate the active social news space, we compiled this Ultimate Guide to the Top Marketing, Technology and Social Media Resources.  This guide aggregates resources quoted by leading strategists such as David Meerman Scott, Brian Solis, Erik Qualman, Jason Falls, and Jay Bear, top analysts and influencers Jeremiah Owyang, Debi Kleiman, Laura Fitton, David Berkowitz, brand leaders such as Ekaterina Walter, Michael Pace, and Pam Johnston, and agency visionaries Steve Rubel, Mike Troiano, and Jonas Klit Nielsen in our free report on 2012 Social Marketing and New Media Predictions, to name just a few.  The Ultimate News Resource Guide also contains the collective input from over 300 marketers from a cross-section of industries, company sizes and levels of social marketing experience (we recently polled these marketers for our upcoming annual report on the State of Social Media Marketing to be published in mid January) and asked them about their top information resources and their sources of inspiration.

Here it is – the 55 Top Marketing, Technology and Social Media Marketing News, Analysis and Trends Resources in alphabetical order:

1.   AdAge @adage

2.   AgencySpy @agencyspy

3.   All Things Digital @allthingsd 

4.   Altimeter Group @altimetergroup

5.   Around the Net in Online Media

6.   Around the Net @aroundthedotnet

7.   Awareness, Inc. @awarenessinc

8.   Big Think @bigthink

9.   BoingBoing @BoingBoing

10.  Brian Solis’ Blog @briansolis

11.  Bull Dog Daily Reporter @BulldogReporter

12.  Business Insider @SAI

13.  Chris Brogan’s Blog @chrisbrogan

14.  Convince & Convert @jaybaer

15.  Customer Collective @yourcustomers

16.  Darwin Awareness Engine Blog @darwineco

17.  Direct Marketing Association @DMASocialMedia

18.  Editors and Publishers @EditorPublisher

19.  eMarketer @eMarketer

20.  Exploring Social Media @JasonFalls

21.  FastCompany @FastCompany

22.  Forrester @Forrester

23.  Gartner @Gartner_inc

24.  Harvard Business Review @HarvardBiz

25.  Jeremiah Oywang  @jowyang

26.  Lifehacker @lifehacker

27.  Mari Smith @MariSmith

28.  MarketingProfs @MarketingProfs

29.  MarketingSherpa @MarketingSherpa

30.  Mashable  @mashsocialmedia

31.  Media Post @MediaPost

32.  MediaGazer @mediagazer

33.  Newsmap @Newsmap

34.  Pulse @pulsepad

35.  ReadWriteWeb @RWW 

36.  Robert Scroble @Scobleizer

37.  SmartBlog on Social Media @SBoSM

38.  SmartBrief on Social Media @SmartBrief

39.  Social Commerce Today @marsattacks

40.  Social Media & Marketing Daily

41.  Social Media Examiner @smexaminer

42.  Social Media Times @socialtimes

43.  Social Media Today @socialmedia2day

44.  SocialMediaMakerting.com @socialROI

45.  Socialnomics @equalman

46.  Summify @summify

47.  TechCrunch.com @techcrunch

48.  Techmeme @Techmeme

49.  The Next Web @TheNextWeb

50.  Trendsmap @Trendsmap

51.  Venture Beat @VentureBeat

52.  WSJ Media Marketing @WSJMedia

53.  WSJ Tech @WSJTech

54.  Wired @wired

55.  Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) @womma

Besides these top resources, today’s marketers heavily rely on their Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook feeds to get to the top news and developments in our industry.  You can follow these Twitter lists to easily get the latest from some of the top experts, and from our top resources, listed here. If you are looking for the top CMOs using Twitter, then look no further than this list of Top CMOs on Twitter.  You can also read about how CMOs are engaging with Twitter. And one final Twitter tip – if you want to know when your top journalists are tweeting about your brand or relevant industry terms, use this new handy tool from Muck Rack.

And as David Meerman Scott reminds us, some marketers also get their insights from their peers – they make it a conscious effort to attend industry events and conferences where they get first -hands insights from their colleagues on what works and what’s in store next.

Don’t be shy – let us know if we missed some of your favorite resources. Experts and marketing leaders you follow not on this list? You have our word – we will update this top list based on your feedback. You can also download our free report 2012 Social Marketing and New Media Predictions, containing insights and predictions from 34 business strategy and marketing experts. Connect with us on Twitter #AwarenessSMM on Facebook at Social Media Marketing Best Practices and Social Media Marketing Mavens Pages or LinkedIn at the Social Media Marketing Mavens Group.

Photo Credit: webtreats  154 Blue Chrome Rain Social Media Icons Used Under a Creative Commons License

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In 2004 I launched my first corporate blog.  At the time I was running sales and marketing for a small software company and was focused on demand generation through ‘traditional channels’ like email, banner ads, direct mail, etc.  I still remember the reaction I got from the team when I told them we would be launching a new blog.  To quote a line from one of favorite movies, A Christmas Story, ‘they looked at me as if I had lobsters crawling out of my ears.’

Fast-forward to 2006.  That blog had grown to become an integral part our marketing mix and was directly responsible for a high percentage of our inbound leads.  We learned quickly that those ‘blog leads’ were typically higher quality leads than those that we generated from other vehicles.  The company had evolved from viewing the blog as something we were ‘experimenting with’ to a critical component of our brand.  It positioned us as thought leaders and allowed us to tell our story in a way that attracted buyers and nurture relationships with our prospects and customers.

I was reminded of my first blog story several times while developing the content for the eBook we released this morning, “The Social Marketing Funnel: Driving Business Value with Social Marketing”. Although social media is no longer seen as a fad, many companies still struggle with how to participate in it and generate meaningful results.  While companies’ social media understanding has evolved from ‘should we be on social media? ‘ to ‘How can we improve our social media activities?‘, brands still grapple with the key question of  the value of social media. That simple question of value transcends company size, industry and focus.

Our team at Awareness realized that while social is still evolving as an industry, we don’t simply need new processes, how-to’s and a set of measures – our industry needs a new decision framework.  A framework that offers companies a scalable way to think about and participate in social, allocate resources, and measure the impact to their bottom line.

The Social Marketing Funnel sits atop and alongside the traditional sales and marketing funnel and serves as a way to nurture buyers throughout their lifecycle. By utilizing and understanding the Social Marketing Funnel, brands are able to identify demand before buyers enter the traditional sales funnel.  They are also able to better manage their relationship with buyers throughout the buying process and customer lifecycle.

Social Marketing Funnel

The research also uncovered a series of metrics and key performance indicators companies can use to track their overall progress and better understand the value of social media including:

  • Social Reach Velocity: gauging a brand’s ability to attract new social profiles across social media platforms over time.
  • Social Reach-to-Traditional Lead Ratio: measuring a brand’s ability to move social profiles into your traditional marketing funnel.
  • Social Profile-to-Sales Ratio: tracking social profiles that turn into customers over time.
  • Content-to-Contact Ratio: understanding the impact of content on generating new contacts and inquiries.
  • Share of Social Conversations: measuring a brand’s ability to dominate social conversations.

I’d like to personally thank all the individuals who participated in this research for their time, their insight and their overall willingness to help with this project including David Meerman Scott, Jason Falls, Jeremiah Owyang, Nathaniel Perez, Erik Qualman, David Berkowitz, Paul Gillin, Christine Major, Jonas Nielsen, Justin Holmerud, and Andrew Patterson.

We hope you enjoy the findings of this book and we are looking forward to your feedback and comments.

Facebook has 500 Million users, spread across every continent, and the user base is growing by the hour. It has developed into an all-in-one solution for enterprise marketers looking to connect with audiences quickly and easily. With this tool brands can advertise, hold conversations, share content and present an organization in an easy-to-manage, structured environment.

Better still, companies say Facebook marketing works. “Facebook is the most effective social networking platform for brands to get their marketing messages across to consumers, say 80% of companies.” (Source: Sense Internet Study.)

This week Awareness launched the Facebook Social Marketing Toolkit which is the first in a series of toolkits designed to help enterprise marketers learn about specific social marketing channels.  The toolkit contains 5 educational pieces focused on Facebook marketing best practices and is intended to be a one-stop shop for inspiring you to do more with your Facebook presence and leverage the Facebook marketing opportunities that exist for you and your company. Regardless of whether you are a Facebook novice or an expert, we think you will take away some great tidbits of advice and next steps from these Facebook resources.

There is a ton of information included in the toolkit.  A highlight for me is Cappy Popp‘s webinar titled “How Enterprise Marketers Keep up with Facebook“.  In 60 minutes Cappy taught me more about Facebook than I thought existed.  Personally, one of the best (if not the best) webinars I have ever heard.  In additional to Cappy’s webinar, there is a bunch of additional content including great peices from Erik Qualman (Author of Socialnomics) and Paul Gillin (Author of the New Influencers and Secrets of Social Media Marketing).  Below is a full list of what is included:

  1. “Chapter 1: Getting Started with Facebook Fan Pages” eBook
    As an enterprise marketer, you have already decided Facebook is worth your time. You have established a presence for your brand and now you are looking to extend that presence and drive deeper engagement. A Facebook page (sometimes referred to as a “LIKE” or “fan” page) is the perfect place to start.

  2. “10 Tips for a Solid Facebook Fan Page” eBook
    This eBook will give you a quick-hit list of Facebook tactics and business process considerations for maintaining a solid Facebook fan page. For example, did you know that thinking multi-channel is the way to go? If you are only publishing content to your Facebook fan page, chances are, you are missing the boat.

  3. “How Enterprise Marketers Keep Up with Facebook – Understanding the Latest from the Most Powerful Platform on the Web,” with Cappy Popp, Founder of Thought Labs
    In this webinar recording, Cappy Popp covers an overview of the platform (where we have been/where we are going), a detailed chat about the “Like” feature (and whether or not it has been successful), privacy changes, the long tail of Facebook and how social plugins impact you.

  4. “Social Marketing Goes Multiplatform” — a whitepaper by Paul Gillin
    Businesses began dipping their toes into the social media pool as early as 2005, but the last two years saw them jump in with both feet. One development in the social media landscape was that marketers warmed to the idea that using multiple social media channels together, and coordinating messages between them, combination collectively achieved a greater impact than if the tools were used in isolation; this realization drove the rapid expansion of marketers’ activities in the social media space. This conclusion is only one of the preliminary results of a multi-client research study undertaken by Paul Gillin Communications in early 2010 that is included in this whitepaper.

  5. “Chapter 1: Word of Mouth Goes World of Mouth” — complimentary download of an entire chapter from Erik Qualman’s Socialnomics
    Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics, describes the current social media movement as a time when, “It’s important to free your content from being trapped in a “walled garden” because people have quickly grown accustomed to the news finding them, and there is no turning back,” and, “Businesses don’t have a choice on whether or not to DO social media, their choice is how well they DO it.”

If you have some time and are interested in learning more about Facebook marketing, take a minute and download the toolkit.  Also, please let me know if there is any other content you would like to see us include in the toolkit or if you have ideas for future toolkits.

Today Awareness announced that the Social Marketing Hub, our latest software innovation, became generally available. During the development of the Hub, Mark Cattini (our CEO) and I traveled to over 50 of the largest brands in the world to get their feedback on the new product.  We spent time collecting feedback on every aspect of the solution from functionality to pricing to market positioning.  While we spent time discussing the product we also spent a significant about of time talking with each company about their approach to social media, their objectives, their successes and their challenges.

I have to admit that I was surprised by some of the findings and was even more surprised to learn that most of the organizations we spoke with face similar challenges despite being of different sizes and in different industries.  What are those challenges you ask?  Below is a summary of what we learned.

1. Inability to scale

The inability for organizations to scale – to quickly and easily manage, maintain, and measure multiple social channels – was a top theme coming out of our meetings. Jeremiah Owyang of Altimeter Group recently published a post that discusses the pain of scaling social media programs in more detail and breaks down the Social Media Management Software market. A real life example of this pain came very early on in our tour. We sat down with the interactive marketing team at a large retailer who explained that they needed to drop MySpace as a channel because they didn’t have the resources to manage and report on it in a meaningful way. Because it had become too burdensome to maintain, they opted to stop spending time updating and managing MySpace and, in their words, “break-ties with our 30K+ MySpace friends”.

The issue for them boiled down to scale. They are not able to utilize and promote additional channels because managing their primary outposts – Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube – requires a huge commitment in terms of resources. They would like to be able to easily add and test new channels but don’t have the time or energy to expand on their current strategy.

2. Security & Control

Raise your hand if your organization shares passwords to your social sites via an excel spreadsheet? If you are guilty, trust me when I tell you that you are not alone. In fact, of the brands we met with only a handful were not using excel to share passwords.  In one of the more uncomfortable moments from the tour, we met with the marketing group and a representative from the IT team at a large consumer electronics company. We mentioned controlling passwords was a challenge for many organizations and they went on to explain how they share passwords through excel. When someone leaves the company they change the password, update the spreadsheet and resend to nearly 30 people who “may” need access to manage updates (this includes resending it to their multiple marketing agencies). Needless to say, the rep from IT was not happy and that resulted in a heated discussion about internal security protocols.

This example is just the tip of the iceberg for security and control. Many organizations have Facebook Pages, YouTube Channels, Twitter Accounts, etc controlled by individuals within the company, outside of the team responsible for controlling messaging. This makes it very difficult to control messaging and posts and makes it almost impossible to retract assets that may be out of date or contain obsolete messaging.  It’s also impossible to report on who published what, where and when.

3. Lack of resources and buy-in

Many of the top brands – some of which have received kudos for their social performance and strategy – are operating with an extreme lack of resources and next to no buy-in from senior execs. A contributing factor to this is a lack of meaningful reporting (see point 4) but it is still shocking that social media has not been fully accepted in the highest levels of some of these enterprises.

Take for example a large, multi-billion dollar retailer who has two individuals managing multiple twitter accts, a few Facebook pages, multiple YouTube channels and a recently launched Flickr page. The management of these channels is only a small component of their everyday jobs which makes prioritizing them very difficult.  While meeting with the social media tandem they needed to continually excuse themselves to respond to support issues on Twitter. The challenge they face is resources are difficult to get. In their words “…  from the executives perspective, we are executing on social media and doing a great job. The question we get is ‘why do you need more resources, everything is going really well’. The problem is we are working 16 hour days to make this happen and are spending large portions of our day arguing with other departments about access, controls, messaging, etc.” This is a good segue to point #4 – reporting…

4. Reporting is Ad-Hoc

Reporting on social media is the single biggest hurdle faced by large organizations because it impacts every other point on the list.  Without reporting, it’s difficult to scale, get exec buy-in, maintain control and centralize your social media strategy.  What surprised us is that pulling general reports from the big channels – Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube – is a manual process that people are spending a great deal of time on. We have seen everything – interns hired specifically to pull stats and aggregate data, marketing agencies getting paid top dollar to pull data on a weekly basis, departments forwarding weekly reports to an individual who aggregates data on specific channels and pieces of content and a myriad of other ways to resolve the issue.  The point is there is a big hole to fill around reporting. Organizations want and need a central place to collect data from multiple channels and have simple way to manipulate data to see how assets are performing and which channels are providing the best bang for the buck.

5. Centralization

Organizations are looking to centralize social media efforts across the organization. What we found is that most organizations handle social media in silos. Different departments create pages and accounts for their division and this makes it difficult to deploy a centralized strategy.  Another large retailer we met with is experiencing this issue on a global scale.  They have over 200 physical retail locations in the United States and Canada and many of the local outlets have taken the initiative to develop and manage their own social outposts to target individuals within the local geography.  The problem comes when one of the local offices decides to promote a sale too early (or not at all), promotes a new product before it’s announced by corporate, uses incorrect messaging and generally doesn’t conform to corporate guidelines.  This is a huge problem faced by not only retail organizations but also inside large multinational corporations with departments that are dispersed across the globe.  Centralizing the social media strategy is something that is gaining a lot of momentum within large companies and most are moving to bring social media to one department who controls all engagement and interactions.

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We used these interviews and the information we collected as a guide to help us develop the Awareness Social Marketing Hub.  By listening to our customers we gained a deep understanding of their approach to social media and built the system from the ground up based on their needs.  With the market constantly evolving we wanted to make sure the system met the needs they have today as well as be capable of supporting needs that develop over time. We are continuing to gather more knowledge about enterprise social media needs and are always using our learnings to innovate our offerings.

What do you think?  Did we miss any challenges?  Are these the same ones that you face on a daily basis?  I’d love to hear your thoughts…

All photos used under a Creative Commons license.  Photo credits:

  1. Scale: Hanson Bros. Scale 04.06.09 [96] by timlewisnm
  2. Control: No Controle (in Control) by renatotarga
  3. Lack of Resources:  089/365 Money…What Money by stuartpilbrow
  4. Reporting: AAAARRRGGGHHH by evilerin
  5. Centralize: Collegiate Church, Salzburg by andreakirkby